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Vikings Outlast Lions in 37-35 Shootout

The Vikings racked up more than 500 yards of offense, including a record-setting 133 to rookie receiver Justin Jefferson, to cap the 2020 season with a 37-35 victory over the Lions in Detroit.

Jefferson led Minnesota (7-9) with nine catches while sporting nifty cleats that featured Randy Moss on one foot and the rookie on the other.

The 2020 first-round pick wound up breaking Moss' franchise rookie record of 1,313 receiving yards and later topped Anquan Boldin's NFL record (1,377 in 2003). Jefferson finished his first campaign with 88 catches, 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Vikings turned to the air frequently, with Kirk Cousins completing 28 of 40 passes for 405 yards and three scores. He improved to 6-0 against Detroit since joining Minnesota in 2018 and finished the day with a passer rating of 127.6.

The yardage was the sixth-most for Cousins in his career and marked his third 400-yard game with Minnesota (first since Sept. 27, 2018).

Cousins finished his third Vikings season with a career-best 35 touchdown passes, which ranks as the second-most in a season by a Vikings QB.

While Jefferson had the biggest numbers, a total of six different Vikings recorded at least 40 receiving yards, setting a franchise record.

Adam Thielen caught four passes for 57 yards, Alexander Mattison added 50 yards on three catches that included a 28-yard touchdown. C.J. Ham and Chad Beebe each totaled 44 yards, and Tyler Conklin recorded 40 yards on three catches. Irv Smith, Jr., added 30 yards, and Ameer Abdullah caught a 4-yard touchdown pass to highlight his day.

Mattison started in place of Dalvin Cook, who was excused while he grieves the loss of his father. He rushed 21 times for 95 yards and a score. Mike Boone added 29 yards on five attempts, and Cousins added a short touchdown.

The Vikings outgained the Lions 508-417, running 74 offensive plays, compared to 54 for Detroit (5-11).

Matthew Stafford completed 20 of 31 passes for 293 yards with three scores. He was intercepted by Harrison Smith in the third quarter and finished with a passer rating of 114.0.

Adrian Peterson rushed seven times for 63 yards and a score against his former team.

Marvin Jones, Jr., led Detroit with eight catches for 180 yards and two scores.

Minnesota possessed the ball for 35:13.

Scoring Summary

Q1, 4:45 remaining

Lions 6, Vikings 0

Marvin Jones, Jr., catches a 43-yard pass from Matthew Stafford (Matt Prater misses PAT wide left) [7 plays, 90 yards, 3:36 time of possession]

Opening it up: After starting timidly to work Stafford back into the lineup, the Lions looked deep with passes of 23 and 43 yards to Jones. Jones was matched up with Anthony Harris and outran the safety on the scoring play. 

Q1, 0:34 remaining

Vikings 7, Lions 6

Alexander Mattison catches a short pass from Kirk Cousins on 28-yard touchdown (Dan Bailey kicks PAT) [8 plays, 70 yards, 4:11 time of possession]

Alert play: The Vikings scored on a fourth-and-2 play one snap after Garrett Bradbury alertly recovered a fumble by Justin Jefferson. The center scooped the ball after it was forced from the receiver and surged forward for another 2 yards in a smooth motion, showing alertness and athleticism.

Q2, 13:19 remaining

Lions 13, Vikings 7

Quintez Cephus catches a 20-yard pass from Stafford (Prater kicks PAT) [5 plays, 75 yards, 2:15 time of possession]

Still got it: Former Viking Adrian Peterson opened the second quarter with a gain of 38 on his first touch of the game.

Q2, 8:51 remaining

Vikings 14, Lions 13

Ameer Abdullah catches a 4-yard pass from Cousins (Bailey kicks PAT) [8 plays, 79 yards, 4:28 time of possession]

To the air: The Vikings quickly retaliated by turning to the air. Cousins connected with Irv Smith, Jr., for a gain of 25 to begin the drive and added completions of 11 and 19 yards to Tyler Conklin before a 14-yard pass to Adam Thielen.

Q2, 7:13 remaining

Lions 16, Vikings 14

Prater kicks a 54-yard field goal [5 plays, 39 yards, 1:38 time of possession]

Another explosive: Jones began the next possession with a 37-yard reception to move the ball within Prater's range.

Q2, 0:04 remaining

Vikings 21, Lions 16

Chad Beebe catches a 40-yard pass from Cousins (Bailey kicks PAT) [6 plays, 79 yards, 0:51 time of possession]

Pinball: Beebe bounced off contact from Lions defensive backs Justin Coleman and Darryl Roberts, surprising everyone, including Justin Jefferson, who had to dodge Beebe's clutch scamper.

Q3, 14:09 remaining

Lions 23, Vikings 21

Jones catches a 26-yard pass from Stafford (Prater kicks PAT) [2 plays, 33 yards, 0:51 time of possession]

Special teams set-up: Detroit bounced back from the late touchdown at the end of the first half when Jamal Agnew returned the opening kickoff of the second half 70 yards.

Q3, 11:35 remaining

Vikings 28, Lions 23

Mattison rushes for 2 yards (Bailey kicks PAT) [6 plays, 69 yards, 2:34 time of possession]

Record for the rook: Jefferson topped Randy Moss' franchise rookie record for receiving yards in a season on a 37-yard catch during the possession.

Q3, 7:55 remaining

Vikings 31, Lions 23

Bailey kicks 23-yard field goal [6 plays, 19 yards, 1:46 time of possession]

Points from a pick: The Vikings added the 3-pointer after Harrison Smith recorded the 28th interception of his career and returned the ball to the Detroit 23-yard line.

Q3, 3:02 remaining

Vikings 31, Lions 29

Peterson rushes for 2 yards (Stafford conversion pass fails) [10 plays, 75 yards, 4:53 time of possession]

Settting up the score: Peterson's first career touchdown against the team that he starred for from 2007-16 was set up by an 18-yard gain on a well-timed screen pass to D'Andre Swift that beat a good-looking blitz by the Vikings.

Q4, 10:32 remaining

Vikings 37, Lions 29

Cousins rushes for 1 yard (Bailey misses PAT wide left) [14 plays, 75 yards, 7:30 time of possession]

Bonus opportunity: Cousins' score occurred on Minnesota's fourth consecutive snap from the Detroit 1. The Vikings failed to gain a yard on third-and-goal with a run by Mike Boone. Cousins was sacked by Tracy Walker on fourth-and-goal, but Walker was flagged for a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty that gave Minnesota a fresh set of downs. Mattison was stuffed from inside the 1 before Cousins was able to reach the paint.

Q4, 4:26 remaining

Vikings 37, Lions 35

Swift rushes for 2 yards (Stafford conversion pass fails) [14 plays, 75 yards, 6:06 time of possession]

Staying with it: Detroit scored seven plays after appearing to record a touchdown on a 38-yard pass to Jones. The reception was ruled an incompletion after review causing a second-and-10. Stafford and Jones connected for a 16-yard play to convert third-and-11 a play later.